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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Woman Strangled Over Spy Fears

City Crime Statistics
June 23 – June 29*
Theft (total)750171
Apartment burglaries19910
Car theft4718
For the Record
Car accidents92
    a) killed15
    b) injured89
Missing persons44
Bodies discovered41
*Police said statistics for June 25 and 26 were missing due to technical problems.
Source: Moscow police

A recently fired defense industry official was arrested last weekend on suspicion of strangling his common-law wife and threatening to blow up his apartment building, the Ulyanovsk region prosecutor's office said Wednesday.

Anatoly Kostin, 50, believed that Yelena Ippolitova, 35, had lived with him for more than a year in an effort to obtain state secrets about his former workplace, said Vasily Zima, a spokesman for prosecutor's office.

Kostin was dismissed four months ago from his post of deputy director and chief engineer at Ulyanovsk's debt-ridden Voladarsky Mechanical Plant, which produces ammunition for small arms, Zima said.

Ippolitova worked as an economist at a local company and was described by her colleagues as a friendly person, while Kostin's former colleagues called him withdrawn, Zima said.

Ulyanovsk prosecutors charged Kostin with premeditated murder Monday. If tried and convicted, he faces a sentence of up to 15 years in prison.

But Zima said investigators suspect Kostin might be suffering from a mental disorder, perhaps schizophrenia.

Kostin somehow became convinced that Ippolitova was spying on him and strangled her with a fishing line at about 1 p.m. on Saturday, Zima said.

"As a former paratrooper, he chose this method," he said by way of explanation.

Kostin then grabbed an ax and destroyed all the furniture in his apartment in an apparent attempt to find eavesdropping devices and other espionage equipment, Izvestia reported Monday.

A few minutes later, at about 1:30, Kostin walked out of his five-story apartment building at 12 Ulitsa Krasnoproletarskaya to chat with his elderly women neighbors in the courtyard, according to Zima.

Kostin began the conversation by inquiring whether they knew who he was. When they said no, he said he was the director of an "important, secret plant," Zima said.

Seeing that the old women were unimpressed, Kostin announced that he had just killed his wife, Zima said.

When the women shrugged off his comments again, an enraged Kostin threatened to blow up the apartment building.

"He didn't feel satisfied inside and wanted others to value him," Zima said.

Kostin then retreated to his apartment. Once he had left, the women began to wonder whether the threat was serious and approached the door of his apartment. Smelling gas, they called the local gas company and the police.

Kostin held off the police outside his apartment for hours, threatening to ignite the gas and simulating gunshots by pounding on the apartment's metal door with a sledgehammer, Zima said.

Finally at 10:45 p.m. he gave up and was taken into police custody.

Kostin, speaking in a "perfectly normal" voice, admitted to investigators at the police station that he had feared his wife was a spy and had killed her, Zima said.

Kostin is currently undergoing a 10-day psychiatric evaluation at a Ulyanovsk clinic, Zima said.

He added that Kostin could well be sent for further tests to the Serbsky psychiatric hospital in Moscow, recalling that a few years ago a Ulyanovsk medical student was sent to the hospital after he killed his family with an ax and claimed he had had a vision ordering him to prepare for a surgery exam.